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Panel approves homes for Martinsburg Station

April 05, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Martinsburg Planning Commission on Wednesday night unanimously approved a site plan application for 210 single-family homes on the city's west side.

The application for Phase 2 of Martinsburg Station, a project of Horsham, Pa.-based Toll Brothers Inc. west of Interstate 81, was approved with little comment other than one commissioner cautioning the developer about dust becoming airborne at the construction sites.

The luxury home builder aims to construct 893 homes on land annexed into the city off Delmar Orchard Road in 2000, and Brad Smiley, the company's land development manager for the project, told the commission the project is projected to be built out, with streets dedicated to the municipality, in six years.

The approval Wednesday comes a month after the commission approved the builder's plan for a recreation center, featuring a clubhouse, outdoor swimming pool and pond at the development.

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Smiley said after the vote that the company hoped to have the recreation center open by spring 2008.

As for property sales, Smiley said about 40 percent of Phase 1's 210 homes had been sold.

He admitted the housing market was not as ideal as the company would like now, but noted a recent bump in interest, noting a "tremendous turnout" of prospective buyers last weekend for the grand opening of "The Executives," homes within the development priced in the upper $300,000 range.

"Our big houses and our town houses seem to be what's driving (sales) right now," Smiley said.

Smiley said another phase site plan still has yet to be presented to the commission for approval, but indicated that will not happen for some time.

City Engineer Michael Covell estimated after the meeting that about 25 homes had been constructed in the development, but even fewer actually were occupied. The company announced its intentions with the Martinsburg property in November 2005.

In The Gallery subdivision nearby, Covell said about 300 homes had been constructed, with about 200 of them occupied.

An official with The Gallery project told the commission on Tuesday night that an effort was under way to gain a cost-sharing agreement with neighboring developers to improve a planned W.Va. 45 intersection with their yet-to-be completed Klee Drive, a three-lane road anticipated to serve as a transportation artery for the city's west side.

The intersection will have a traffic signal and additional turn lanes, Tim Shaw told the commission.

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